Berlin Lobby Association
Waste of tax money: Take a taxi to the elementary school
Every year, the “Black Book” of the Taxpayers’ Association denounces examples of tax waste. The association has listed 100 cases: some bizarre, others unnecessary or expensive.
A heated bridge, a roundabout that is too small and taxi rides to the elementary school: The Association of Taxpayers with its 50th edition of the Black Book denounced the German authorities’ waste of money.
The federal, state and local authorities throughout Germany were again careless with the money of the citizens, said association president Reiner Holznagel on Wednesday in Berlin. The association listed 100 examples from different regions – but not everyone sees this as a waste of money as much as the Berlin lobby association.
In the Bavarian Traunstein a pedestrian and cycle path bridge was equipped with electric heating mats for 150,000 euros to thaw ice and snow in winter. According to the association, this caused the city of Traunstein electricity costs of 23,000 euros in 2021. For this reason, the heating has now been switched off.
Construction director Christian Rehm justifies the bridge heating as necessary due to the design. Because the particularly light and filigree steel construction is more sensitive to de-icing salt than a concrete bridge. “We assume that the service life of the bridge will be extended by at least a third by not spreading salt, that’s about 35 years,” says the head of the authorities about the black book criticism.
TOO SMALL GYRO
In the Hessian Egelbach A new roundabout was built in the Offenbach district for 125,000 euros, including as a bus turning loop. The problem: the roundabout is too small, making it difficult for buses to negotiate it, according to the black book. Now it is to be rebuilt for another 75,000 euros.
According to the federal association, the municipality of Egelsbach said that a large part of these costs would have been incurred even if there had been no mistake in the planning. The planning office should pay for the rest. The state chairman of the association, Joachim Papendick, nevertheless criticized the fact that the mistake in the town hall had not been noticed earlier. It is still unclear whether there is a risk of tax money being wasted.
BY TAXI TO PRIMARY SCHOOL
For the past three years, children from a new development in Braunschweig have been taken to the elementary school by taxi and picked up again after class. The reason: the sidewalks have not yet been built by the investor, and there is construction site traffic on the construction roads. According to the police, the approximately one kilometer long way to school is not safe enough. As the legal sponsor of school transport, the city grants the taxi rides and also bears the costs: so far almost 40,000 euros.
When asked by the taxpayers’ association at the city of Braunschweig, it was said that it was not possible to subsequently pass on the costs incurred to the investor – because of the urban development contract that had already been concluded. For future contracts, however, the inclusion of a corresponding clause should be examined.
THREE TIMES THE EXPENSIVE AND FINISHED LATER
The construction of the Elisabeth-Selbert-Haus – a new building for the Bundestag with around 200 offices on the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin – will be finished later and will be more expensive than planned. Initially, 28.2 million euros were set aside for this in the federal budget, but costs have now been estimated at 89.2 million euros. In addition, according to the latest planning, the project should not be completed until 2026 instead of the end of 2024 as initially planned.
According to its own statements, the taxpayers’ association asked the Federal Agency for Real Estate Tasks (Bima) for the reasons. The Bima announced that additional costs were mainly due to “market-related cost increases” and “risks due to the difficult building site”. The latter problem is also the reason for the postponement.
FREE COMMUTER PRETZELS
Those who cycled to work in Baden-Württemberg were rewarded on five days in May and June: cyclists could pick up a free pretzel in the morning from 650 participating bakeries. The ministry sponsored the campaign with over 58,000 euros. The taxpayers’ association complained that this was an “unnecessary PR campaign at the expense of taxpayers”.
According to the Ministry of Transport, the campaign was an incentive to try out the bicycle as a means of everyday transport and to switch to the bicycle beyond the campaign period. “On the other hand, the free pretzel gives them appreciation for trips to work, school or university with the climate-friendly means of transport,” said a spokesman.